Stone, who can work on a global scale-think Dog Soldiers or Damascus Gate-here presents a more intimate but still deeply explosive story. Steven Brookman, a married professor at a prestigious New England college, decides to end his risky affair with brilliant, wayward student Maud Stack. Maud will have none of it, however, and the moral issues that arise are less clear-cut than they seem. Ive just started reading this one, and already Im hooked; with a 50,000-copy first printing.
“Robert Stone is a vastly intelligent and entertaining writer, a divinely troubled holy terror ever in pursuit of an absconded God and His purported love. Stone’s superb work with its gallery of remarkable characters is further enhanced here by his repellently smug professor, Steve Brookman, and the black-haired girl’s hopelessly grieving father, Eddie Stack." — Joy Williams
In an elite college in a once-decaying New England city, Steven Brookman has come to a decision. A brilliant but careless professor, he has determined that for the sake of his marriage, and his soul, he must extract himself from his relationship with Maud Stack, his electrifying student, whose papers are always late and too long yet always incandescent. But Maud is a young woman whose passions are not easily contained or curtailed, and their union will quickly yield tragic and far-reaching consequences.
As in Robert Stone’s most acclaimed novels, here he conjures a complex moral universe where nothing is black and white, even if the characters—always complicated, always compelling—wish it were. The stakes of Brookman and Maud’s relationship prove higher than either one could have anticipated, pitting individuals against one another and against the institutions meant to protect them.
Death of the Black-Haired Girl is a powerful tale of infidelity, accountability, the allure of youth, the promise of absolution, and the notion that madness is everywhere, in plain sight.